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Tuesday, November 30 • 10:25am - 11:40am
Empowering people and building a business and human rights community in Central and Eastern Europe

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Empowering people and building a business and human rights community in Central and Eastern Europe

Organized by the Working Group on Business and Human Rights in collaboration with the Business and Human Rights Lab at the Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University in Ukraine and the Polish Institute for Human Rights and Business

As the UNGPs turned 10 in June 2021, the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights took stock of the first decade of implementation. The stocktaking highlighted that the UNGPs have led to significant progress by providing a common framework for all stakeholders in managing business-related human rights risks and impacts, but that considerable gaps remain to effectively prevent and remedy harm caused by business, particularly for those in most vulnerable situations. Meaningful progress over the next 10 years depends on how these gaps are addressed.

This session provides an opportunity for States and other stakeholder in CEE region to share their own commitments and plans for scaling-up implementation and effectiveness of the Guiding Principles in the next decade in the region.

This Forum session is part of the Forum track on trends and challenges in promoting business respect for human rights in the context of each region of the world in the context of the Working Group’s project ‘Business and human rights: towards a decade of global implementation' (also known as “UNGPs 10+ / Next Decade BHR”).

Brief description of the session:
The session seeks to bring various relevant stakeholders together, including States, businesses, and business associations, investors, civil society actors and international organizations to discuss business and human rights issues in the Central and Eastern European context. The session will provide a platform to exchange knowledge on the region-specific challenges, share positive developments, as well as forward looking plans for scaling-up action to strengthen implementation of the UNGPs in the next decade and beyond. Among specific issues to be discussed, the session will consider the essential elements of a conducive environment for promoting responsible business conduct and discuss positive practices to overcome existing and systemic challenges, including through empowering stakeholders, building a strong business and human rights multi-stakeholder community as preconditions for moving forward in the next decade to a more effective implementation of the UN Guiding Principles (UNGPs).

Looking ahead, the region specific challenges require not only better regulation in a “smart mix” of legislative and policy initiatives, but more effective enforcement mechanisms, stronger civil society participation, and bottom-up and inclusive initiatives and strategies which are critical to the improvement of human rights record of companies operating in the region and the creation of a strong business and human rights multi-stakeholder community in the entire Central and Eastern European region.

Key objectives of the session:
  • to identify the most significant obstacles and opportunities to implement the UNGPs in the countries of the region;
  • to illustrate, through selected case studies, how transparent, multistakeholder and inclusive approaches may enhance/improve corporate respect for human rights and may contribute to the creation of a strong business and human rights community;
  • to discuss ways in which victims in the Central and Eastern European region may be empowered in seeking access to effective remedy against business related human rights abuses;
Key questions:
  • How governments, businesses and civil society actors successfully are overcoming the region-specific challenges to the effective implementation of UNGPs?
  • What reforms would create a more conducive environment for responsible business in Central and Eastern Europe? How can multi-stakeholder efforts help to build transformative business models for the future in the region?
  • Which good practices and key actors are there in the region for empowering victims in seeking effective remedy for business related human rights abuses?
Background to the discussion:

The very diverse region of Central and Eastern Europe continues to experience a low level of awareness on business and human rights. This is due to many factors, including a deficient rule of law environment, low legal awareness, the absence of strong democratic institutions, shrinking space for civil society, weak trade unions, the historic State control on economic processes with State-owned and municipality owned businesses that are not necessarily leading by example in their role as economic actors, as well as the often-ineffective systems of remedy for victims of business-related human rights abuses.

avatar for Beata Faracik

Beata Faracik

Co-Founder and President of the Board, Polish Institute for Human Rights and Business
Beata Faracik is a co-founder and President of the board of PIHRB. A legal expert specialized in Human Rights & Business and RBC/CSR, she has approximately 20 years of professional experience the in public, private, and NGO sectors in various countries, including the Ministry of Justice... Read More →

avatar for Ms Antonina Gorbunova

Ms Antonina Gorbunova

Executive Director, Union of Indigenous Peoples “SOYUZ” (KMNSOYUZ)
Antonina Gorbunova is an indigenous Nenets lawyer and leader, born in the Kanin Peninsula in Russia’s High North. She practices law for ten years, including eight years of work on the rights of indigenous peoples. Her human rights career evolved from assistant to an indigenous Member... Read More →
avatar for Elżbieta Karska

Elżbieta Karska

member, UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights
Ms. Elżbieta Karska is a Professor and the Head of the Department of Protection of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law and the Director of the Institute of International Law, European Union and International Relations at the Faculty of Law and Administration, Cardinal... Read More →
avatar for Olena Uvarova

Olena Uvarova

Head of Business and Human Rights Lab, Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University, Ukraine
Dr. Olena Uvarova, PhD in Law (2010), Associate Professor, since 2018, she leads the International Lab on Business and Human Rights at Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University (Kharkiv, Ukraine). In June 2022, Olena joined Wageningen University, Law Group, as a Visiting Researcher.Her... Read More →
avatar for Ms Inga Zarafyan

Ms Inga Zarafyan

President, ECOLUR, Armenia
Inga Zarafyan is the President of “EcoLur” Informational NGO, Ph.D. in Biophysics, Member of Anticorruption Center (Transparency International), Head of Informational-analytic Service of RA National Academy of Science, author of 25 scientific publications in biophysics, author... Read More →
avatar for Ms Katarzyna Kosakowska

Ms Katarzyna Kosakowska

Vice-Chairwoman of the National Commission of the Union, Polish National Trade Union of the Self-Employed "wBREw"
Vice-Chairwoman of the National Commission, National Trade Union of Self-Employed, Poland's first trade union dedicated to the self-employed and people working in other forms of employment.Legal expert and adviser with extensive advocacy, lobbying and managerial experience. Knowledge... Read More →
avatar for Mr Nicolaj Sønderbye

Mr Nicolaj Sønderbye

Senior Democracy and Human Rights Advisor, UNDP Ukraine
Nicolaj is a senior advisor on Democracy and Human Rights for UNDP Country Office in Ukraine. He is human rights lawyer and a development practitioner with more than 20 years of experience in human rights, democracy and governance at implementation, policy and management level. Nicolaj... Read More →
avatar for Mr  Alexandr Curașov

Mr Alexandr Curașov

Executive Director, CSR Moldova
Alexandr Curașov is the Executive Director of the CSR Moldova Association (Network of social responsible bussines) and also a cofounder of the Regional Center for Community Policies, an organization serving vulnerable and marginalized groups. Starting his way from being a drug user... Read More →
avatar for Ms Renata Yaresko

Ms Renata Yaresko

Head of Public Relationship Department, ENERGOATOM, Ukraine
Yaresko Renata began her career at NNEGC Energoatom in 2016 as an economist and currently heads the public relations department. Over the years, she has made a significant contribution to promoting the Energoatom brand as a responsible employer and enhancing the Company's image among... Read More →

Tuesday November 30, 2021 10:25am - 11:40am CET
Virtual Room 2